Connor: "A Nasty, Shameful Campaign"

State Senator Marty Connor hovered somewhere between upbeat and desperate when talking this afternoon about his chances of fending off a challenge tomorrow from Brooklyn landlord Ken Diamondstone.

“Oh certainly, I will spend somewhere between $180,000-200,000 dollars, which to me is a lot of money for a state Senate primary,” he said this afternoon in a phone interview in which he called his opponent’s campaign literature a series of “gross distortions” of his record.

Connor says he has put out six district-wide mailings of his own. (We asked him to send us copies. We’re still waiting. This guy, at least, doesn’t like them.)

Connor said he regretted the negativity of the campaign and said he hoped it would be decided on issues.

“I hope it will come down to people being concerned about public education, healthcare and affordable housing. Frankly, people have been bombarded with twelve very nasty negative mailings from my opponent. He is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money.”

More from Connor after the jump.

Connor’s argument for re-election is that he has the “experience and record of accomplishment” to prove that he can get the job done, while little is known about his opponent, who has attacked him mercilessly as an Albany insider compromised by powerful corporate interests.

“It’s really been a nasty, shameful campaign that he’s run with a lot of money behind it. I suppose maybe if Ken wins without telling voters who you are and what you’re for, you know, it’s very disappointing that there hasn’t been a discussion of the issues. He’s just made it a personal attack on me, and mischaracterized my votes on things, mischaracterized, supposedly I received all this money in contributions, I can’t find it – you know going back seven years – I can’t find thousands from tobacco companies. In 2000 I took $550 checks, apparently at a fundraiser. I was leader then, it’s not like I was watching this. Somebody accepted the checks and put it in. They had instructions not to take from tobacco, but what can I do? It’s a total mischaracterization, and to suggest that that is why I voted against the state smoking ban, when my floor remarks make it absolutely clear that it was for two reasons: one, that I thought the city ban was better and shouldn’t be preempted by an upstate bill; and two, that I, in that speech, call for a total ban on tobacco fazed in with treatment and education to ween people from their addiction – not exactly big tobacco’s position.”

Of the charge that Connor has sponsored few bills, he asserts that “When I was leader, all of my personal legislation was passed off to the members to make them look good.”

Connor sees his advantage in Manhattan – “I think I’m far better known there” – where 70% of the district is located.

“Every legitimate community leader has endorsed me,” said Connor. “They know me, they know what I can do. Every significant union has endorsed me.”

Will they be on the ground tomorrow?

“Oh yeah, I’ll have union troops.”

—Nicole Brydson